A trip to the woods is not just about practicing survival skills or doing a “bushcraft”.
For me It’s just enjoy being out in the woods whether it be with company or not, being out in the nature means tuning in to your surroundings and listening to what’s going on around you. Is this something that is forgotten by most people that travel outdoors? I think so. Now consider this, when tuning in to your surroundings you take in more than you think for example; Watching wildlife, this can be the humble squirrel which if you watch what they get up to you will be able to find them all year round. Pigeon the “woody” is something I think everyone should watch they do different things year round and roost mostly in the same place when they know it’s safe, they also generally use the same areas to feed in depending on the season.
Now if you consider the amount of animals in the woods and the fact that you can note down certain things about each sighting you have it could up your chances of survival by tenfold. Having the skills to do this which is part of the “tracking and watching” animals craft, a small journal or notepad carried with you every trip or even a piece of paper to write on that later you can add to a folder or journal. This then creates your own personal encyclopaedia of the areas you visit on a daily/weekly basis. Finding an area that you can visit whenever you want is very important to hone your skills, to just chill or to spend an overnight or longer there, obviously you must feel safe and know your way to the site whether it be during the day or at the dead of night.
The importance of knowing your kit and how to set up the easiest of shelters the simple tarp is of the upmost importance. Have a simple kit that don’t weigh much to carry in on over nights this will make it easier to walk in with crap weather but also you will have less to loose and to organise. Making your camp routine simple is a very good way whether you are experienced or just starting out you should have your routine down to a fine art within weeks of getting out which will build on confidence as well as making you build the will to get out more often.
The most asked question that I get is; how do I find somewhere to get out? There is a simple answer and most always get it wrong, you don’t need a wilderness to get lost in! neither does it need to be a large 500 acre woods, what you need is a patch of woodland to disappear into, in fact it’s better to be of a smaller size as long as you can find somewhere you can camp and won’t be seen by the general public. You can find woodlands all over the UK most of which are owned by some sort of organisation that you gain permission from. Its best to be upfront with them and you intentions this way the worst they can say is no, if that happens a little stealth and persistence will get you the permission sooner or later. If not you will have gained skills you never thought possible!
So my advice is take what you can from this and most important of all get out and enjoy our wonderful countryside and woodlands, whether it be a day trip, an overnight or even longer what’s important is that you enjoy your time out and have memories to look back on.